Book Review – Ultimate Iron Man by Orson Scott Card

Title: Ultimate Iron Man

Author:  Orson Scott Card

Illustrator: Andy Kubert, & Mark Bagley

Format: Paperback

Published: 2006

 

As I said last review the book there was only a short reprieve and I am here to present you yet another comic.  This time I bring you something from the Marvel Universe which isn’t all that common for me. Today I present to you Ultimate Iron Mann.  This is a comic that I almost didn’t pick up.  I saw the tile realized I should probably read a bit of Iron Man considering that I am rather fond of the movies.  Yet I saw the cover art and the way the suit is designed is very different, rather round and not what I’m used to as I have seen Iron Man featured in other comics such as the Guardians of the Galaxy comics which I will say is a must read!  (Seriously a 5 out of 5 if I were to review it.)   Yet, before putting it back I looked at the back and realized that the comic was written by an award winner and with that I decided why not it’s not like I’m risking money on this book as I was at the library at the time.

 

I picked up the book and was a little surprised that this was starting with the store of Howard Stark.  I was confused but continued to read and continued to be confused.  This story was something of an origin story but not in the way that I sort of know the story via the movies or what I have heard.  Pretty much Tony Stark was a genetically altered child.  His mother was exposed to a virus of sorts that was killing her and causing baby Tony to grow up as more than just a child but as a brain child.  He looks normal but all of his flesh is also brain matter so if you attack his brain in the normal sense of the word you have no effect on him.  In addition to brain being his entire body, he also has the ability to regenerate and re-grow body parts.

 

Because his entire body is a brain and his cells constantly regenerate Howard Stark uses a chemical on his son that acts as a personal shield.  No punches or punctures can harm a person with this stuff on and the only way it can come off is with anti-bacterial soap.  The side effect – Tony is blue, at least until they find a formula that is invisible that Tony can wear, allowing him to go to normal school and meet Rhodney. With a few more complications of issues, Tony also meets Obadiah and other familiar characters to the world of Iron man but it is all different than I know it as most of them are teenagers going to the same school.

 

If what little I’ve shared of the book is any indication it was a weird read and it took my thoughts and conceptions of Iron Man/Tony Stark and turned them on their head but there were little things that seemed to keep the same.  I don’t know if I would read more in the series but this oddity did keep my attention and I would also give it a 3 out of 5.

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Book Review – Batman War Crimes

Title: Batman War Crimes

Authors: Anderson Gabrych, Devin Grayson, Bill Willingham, Bruce Jones, & Will Pfeifer

Format: Paperback

Published:  2006

 

I will start this review with a warning to readers that my next several reviews are going to be comics and manga as I went on a massive comic manga kick as they are quick and easy to read and I happen to really like them so bear with me during this time and I promise real books will come eventually!  Today I am presenting you with Batman War Crimes.  If you have read a lot of my reviews, you know that I am a big Batman fan particularly when it comes to the Boy Wonder Robin.  My affinity sits chiefly with Tim Drake also known as the Red Robin.  Considering that there isn’t a lot of Red Robin comics and a lot of other stories I have ventured out into other Batman and Robin comics, several of which I have not reviewed, for that I am sorry.

 

Anyway the back of this comic got my attention as this story takes place after the death of Stephanie Brown as Robin.  She was the next person to take on the role of Robin when Tim retired for a while from the cowl.  I had read the story where he retired and I would love to continue reading what happens there and I thought though I’m missing all of Stephanie Brown’s time as Robin this could be interesting this might be a really good comic!  I picked it off the library shelf and was excited to read it but it was nothing compared to the other comics I read.  Tim made an appearance but it wasn’t for long and it wasn’t a very strong or memorable story.

 

The gist of the story here is that Batman is getting blamed for Stephanie’s death and the death of other people as he is being framed for these other deaths as there is another person who is running around in the cowl pretending to be him.  This story follows Batman as he tries to get to the bottom of things and understand how and why Stephanie dies because it shouldn’t have happened.  It is to be honest a very dark time for the Bats as he deals with this and to me it is clear that he is dealing with a lot of guilt about the situation as well and thus becoming obsessed with his work.  To match and reflect the darkness of the story the drawing are very dark and gritty and the lines are very angular.  I’m not as fond of the artistic style found in this story.  There were really a lot of artists, letterers, inkers, and colorists involved with this story,  20 to be exact (this is why they are not listed in the specs about the book).

 

In short, I was not that enthused or gripped by the story like I have been with all other stories I have read of course this wasn’t focused on Robin and that might be the big difference as everything else I have read has a focus on Robin and I expected the same here to have a focus on a Robin.  So I will give this a 2 out of 5 pages as I wouldn’t really recommend this as a story to read or own.  It was what it was and I appreciate it for that but really you are not missing much if you skip this read in the overarching story of Batman and his Robins.  At the very least the plot important things found in this story can be easily picked up in other stories that have a much higher entertainment value than this comic.

Book Review – Invincible: The Ultimate Collection 2 by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley & Bill Crabtree

Title:  Invincible: The Ultimate Collection 2

Author: Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Bill Crabtree

Format:  Hardback

Published:  2006

 

It took a few days before I could get my hands on the second book in the collection of the Invincible series but oh how glad I was that it was a quiet day so I could spend my time with my nose stuck in this book reading away at another 400ish page comic book.  Having loved the first one I was excited for this next one. Invincible is quickly becoming one of my favorite story arcs and super heroes.  He is fun he is real and the story deals with real life issues.

 

After the big reveal at the end of the first book we see Mark and those around him adjust to the changes in their life and the world around them.  The issue of alcohol abuse comes up, as well as drug use but it is done tastefully and realistically without it being an afternoon special either.  This book though phenomenal for the store it told was a big book of set up.  So many stories and so many issues are jammed into this one book, I am looking forward to the next book to see what problems Invincible will face first it was just a book full of delicious goodness as we met new villains and mixed them with a few old.  We saw a dynamic change in groups of friends and everything was just unbelievably fun!

 

I am sitting here just a day after reading it and am salivating for the next book which my comic book guru forgot to bring today so I shall be reminding him for it and demanding that the book be present by the weekend as I’m sure I’ll have the time to read then and will be salivating all the more for the next story to see what happens to these characters as what will become of the interesting plots that are developing not only for the main title character but the side characters as well!

 

Over all I would give this book a 4 out of 5 pages only because this is an in between book and did not have me reeling as much as the first one but don’t mistake this rating as this book not being a worthy read because it totally is!

Book Review: Skippyjon Jones In Mummy Trouble by Judy Schachner

Title: Skippyjon Jones In Mummy Trouble

Author/Illustrator: Judy Schachner

Format: Hardback

Written/Published: 2006

When I went looking for the Skippyjon Jones book that I remembered reading a few years back I was pleasantly surprised to find that Judy Schachner had done more books than just the one with my favorite Siamese Cat who thinks he’s a Chihuahua.  There were at least three other books there at the library and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few more out there.  I gladly picked up all the Skippyjon Jones books I can find, so please bear with me as I do review them all.  I will try to slip in a few more mature books in between this one and the others just to give you all a break but seriously these books are a treat!

I had no clue what to expect when reading this installment of Skippy’s adventures but I found myself giggling throughout the book causing my roommate to ask me what was going and then demanding to read the book after me because of my giggling.  It was so cute and adorable as Skippyjon dons on the makings of Skippito becomes a Chihuahua once more and goes down to Egypt where he meets the gang of Chimichangos once more.  They are no longer lacking in the frijoles but rather looking to rest in peas like the mummies.  This adventure is cute and adorable as Skippy faces the great Finx and then becomes a mummy himself!  It is cute and adorable and a must read if you liked the first Skippyjon Jones book!  I would give this one a 4 page rating again and a 5 for those who have read and enjoyed Skippyjon Jones.  I look forward to having these books in my collection one day and will cherish sharing them with others if given the chance!

Book Review – The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo

Title: The Snow Spider

Author:  Jenny Nimmo

Format: Hardback

Written: 1986

Published: 2006

 

After reading the book I’ve been set with a quandary as to how to review this book.  I have read books by Jenny Nimmo particularly her Charlie Bone series. It was a book about a boy with special powers and there was an allusion in the series to the title character being a descendant of a magician.  Thus when I saw that Jenny Nimmo has a book series based on a magician I was all for the idea and eager to read it even if it is significantly shorter than the Charlie Bone series.

 

Yet, it seems that my habit of picking up books by authors I have read before has failed me a bit yet again.  One would think that I would learn my lesson on this but I’m a sucker for a good author and hoping that they won’t fail me.  In this case Jenny Nimmo didn’t entirely fail me as some authors have but this book was certainly not one of my favorites.  Of course it doesn’t entirely help that I thought the book came after the Charlie Bone series but it was written well before the book and in some ways it is very easy to tell as there is a lot of weakness to this book that are made up for in the Charlie Bone series.

 

In this book the plot was rushed the characters motives were forced and the personalities were flat.  I barely had time to get into one event when it would end and the next event would start. I guess I should have expected that with the book being so short but I was still disappointed and left wanting.  The story of Gywn and his discovering of being a magician and getting his heart’s desires was rather flat, the story and plot had potential but I really wish Jenny Nimmo would have expanded more like she wound up doing with the Charlie Bone series.

 

Over all I’d give the book a three page rating because there were some moments that I liked, the concept was solid just lacking in development.  Would I recommend this book? Not really.  Will I read the next book in the trilogy? Probably not.  The book tied up its plot and left nothing to question and is very much a standalone, and considering the characters did not capture me that well and the writing is not as refined as it is now, I have little desire to know more about Gywn the magician.

Book Review – Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Title: Water for Elephants
Author: Sara Gruen
Format: Hardback
Written: 2006
Published: 2006

I have just finished reading Water for Elephants and instead of waiting a bit of time between reading the book and writing the review I’m not. I wanted to sit down and capture my feelings for this book immediately. Water for Elephants as described by another reviewer is a world that just pulls you in and makes you not want to set the book down, and this is very true. I will admit that the book is not what I expected based upon the title and the posters for the movie that has been made based on this book but it doesn’t make it any less fantastic, and I am so glad I picked it up from the library to read it in celebration of National Novel Writing Month.

The story starts off focused on the main character of Jacob who is also the narrator of the story. He is ninety, or ninety three and living in a nursing home. Throughout the book you go back and forth between his time and struggles in the nursing home as he faces the issues that come with old age and his life when he was twenty three. You start off with him in school learning to become a vet to his life falling apart around him and him joining the circus. The world of the circus is so wonderfully and perfectly crafted you really feel you are there for the glory and terror that it is. Each character is strong and vibrant and you find yourself desperate to know what will become of Jacob both when he is twenty three and when he is ninety three.

Based on the title of the book one would think that the story is all about elephants and then combined with the movie posters one would think it is also nothing but a torrid love affair, but the story is so much more than that. The elephant Rosie doesn’t make an appearance until about half way through the book and the love affair doesn’t come to truly be until the last forth of the book the sexual tension and desire is there from early on but the book doesn’t focus on it, it is more a driving plot point as the story to me speaks more of Jacob working to survive in this circus during the Great Depression, and keep those he cares about safe as well, which includes the animals.

As I type up this review I honestly feel that my words are not adequate to truly express the wonders of this fantastic story that I have had trouble putting down when real life such as work called me away. Because of this I truly feel that I can recommend this book and give it a four page review. I keep it at for pages solely because there are those who would not appreciate the sexual intonations that do happen to appear in the book, though they are handled rather well rather than being a matter of crass imagery, and for the darkness that one finds in the book, it adds a whole level to the story and it would be lost without that dark gritty realism that is infused into the story, making it such a wonderful read.

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